February 25, 2012 3 Comments
The last time I attended anything at Spokane’s famed Bing Crosby Theatre, I wasn’t wearing a shirt for a brief period of time. Allow me to explain. It was the 90’s. And where that might actually explain everything right there, I also happened to be 14 and “skanking” away to the then renowned ska punk band Reel Big Fish with hormones on fire and bowl cut hair. On that very night, had you told me what the next event I would be attending there would be….I probably would have told you to lay off the pint stashed in your Jnco mammoth pants.
13 years later, I sat only about 10 feet from where I once danced frantically. But, back then it was simply known as The Opera House, not after the cities most famous former resident. The crowd is a bit different as well. Instead of rowdy teenagers and twenty somethings, I see old men and women everywhere. Stern faces, agendas clearly visible in the eyes of angered upper-middle class white people. Shiny bald heads poke out above sleek Northface jackets, and usually accompanied by a pair of eye glasses resting on a fading nose. There are old women dressed in layered sweat suits and New Balance running shoes, or their finest evening attire (although it was 2 o’clock in the afternoon) strapped with a gaudy set of pearls probably passed down from generation to generation. Each lovely white bead just a bit larger than the next, and more than likely picked by folks with a skin color that does not seem to be anywhere in sight today. Yes, this is a slightly different crowd. Aside from the ridiculous youngsters who thought it would probably be “just so cool” to rock their Obama branded t-shirts, all the while snapping pictures between giggles, there is literally no comparison to events passed. And instead of a scattered selection of band equipment and wires slinking across the wood floor, there is a single podium, and a selection of American flags and Washington State flags.
Another major difference is the girl sitting next to me asking to take my cell phone for a while. She wants to play Angry Birds, of course. She is my 4 year old daughter Sophia. And she wants to see the man I have informed her as being known as, “Mr. Marshmallow Face”.
I had the idea to bring Sophia to the rally when I heard ole Newt was coming to town in part because she didn’t have anywhere to be and quality time is always good. But in all honesty, she was my diversion. I know I reek of liberalism and open mindedness in such a way that the whole event could have become extremely awkward, extremely quickly. Faster than I dropped my dirty Converse onto the lobby floor, I was definitely going to be flagged as a damn dirty intruder. The buttons on my shabby sweatshirt didn’t read “Newt-er Obama Care” as many others did. Actually they were simply some swag from the indie band Axemunkee, and a logo button for Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club from my dear friends with Bobby Joe Ebola and The Children Macnuggits. But, as far as these old conservatives were concerned they might as well have been pictures of aborted fetuses and border hopping immigrants raping their teenage daughters. Yes, it was absolutely imperative that I had a distraction. And let me tell you folks….Sophia is adorable.
Of course, it didn’t entirely work. I could still feel the eyes upon me. I was displaced from the half a dozen “rowdy kids” hiding out at the very top of the balcony, consistently interrogated by Newt’s security and Spokane’s finest. But, they knew I was one of them in some way shape or form. My age alone made me a target amongst these Reagan enthusists, probably all old enough to have even voted for him. But, I did have the kid with me. She even had pig tails. This could work.
Two o’clock rolled around, and Sophia is continuing to pull on my sleeve asking when the Marshmallow Man was coming. I tell her to be patient:
“What are all the flags for, Daddy?”
“Well, Mr. Marshmallow Face wants to be president of our country, so he made people put our country’s flag behind him so he looks important?”
“I don’t think a marshmallow should be president.”
“Me neither sweetheart. Me neither.”
A random woman walks out on stage with about half the theatre applauding. She announces how proud she is to be able to introduce their honored guest for the evening. She’s the top dog Republican in this area (whose name you can Google if you really give a damn) and she seems to be rather excited for her fellow brethren of rich folks in attendance. She excitedly yet calmly introduces the “potential first lady of the United States”, Calista Gingrich. Applause roars throughout the ancient building as Newt’s latest fling known as his wife (should she not get cancer anytime soon) struts across the stage with an enormous fake smile (which she will continue to have the whole damn time, sort of impressive) and a blond bun tied so damn tight it appears as though her eyes have been implanted onto her forehead.
“She’s not a marshmallow.”
“No, she’s Mr. Marshmallow Face’s wife.”
(Giggles ensue) “She married a marshmallow!”
“Yep, lots of people have married Mr. Marshmallow Face.”
Newt comes out on stage in a slow manner. And it was at this moment that you truly found out who was there for Newt and who was, well, just there. I remained sitting, with the excuse that Sophia was now on my lap when she wanted a better glance at Mrs. Marshmallow Face. But, I was pleased to learn that the two old men sitting next to us, who didn’t seem so bitter actually weren’t. They faced the forceful eyes like the evil little shits in the back rows when they refused to stand up and applaud for a man that represents an immense amount of conservative ignorance. Arguably, he may be the worst of the bunch.
Gingrich had nothing new to say for anyone who has been following the circus that has been the GOP Primary. He muttered off the laundry list of things he was going to do “on my first day in office”. He named dropped Reagan a fair amount. It was interesting to hear his thoughts on the president’s apology to the Harmid Karzai about recent Koran burning by Americans in Afghanistan. Somehow Karzai is suppose to be to blame for one of his Afghan troops turning his back on its own people, and killing two Marines in the process. His opinion….take a guess. No matter, his rhetoric was all the same. And depending on what side of the cable news pendulum you decide to swing, it was all good. Or bad. I might go with bad.
Most importantly, Sophia didn’t seem to be too impressed. She was quickly back to her game of Angry Birds before she made the only relevant comment I heard in twenty minutes.
“Daddy, I need to go potty.”
6 words that I feel pretty much summed up the entire event, campaign, even the primary. After a quick bathroom break, I decided we have come to a good stopping point in which we could leave while still having some sort of impression. Well, I guess that sort of happened before we even showed up. I decided we could go on a high note.
We stepped out through the lobby, amongst even more spiteful eyes upon the sinning trash that were walking out on the conservative messiah. Outside were greeted by a quaint (3 people) group of Ron Paul supporters. Their attitudes were almost polar opposite from the cold stares and dead eyes of the American dream that sat within those doors. The tattooed young lady with a smile for days was quite the relief. Her and her entourage (the other two) was exactly what I needed after this ridiculous event. I may not agree with them by any means. But, I’ll be damned if they aren’t, well, nice (at least).
I’m not a Ron Paul supporter by any means. I can understand Libertarianism a bit more than I conservatism. But I can’t support the idea as a whole. But, I’ll be damned if I wasn’t ecstatic so see Sophia smile at the first positive attitude she had seen in a while. This was a good moment.
Sophia did soon realize that Mr. Marshmallow Face was just a man. A man “with a really big head” she would later proclaim. I seriously cannot thank this kid enough for bringing the most absolute clarity to the debacle and obscene world of American politics. It’s all just one really big, silly potty break.